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The influence of the Charlton’s has continued to dominate Apley and the borough. There are two ‘Charlton Streets’ in the area, a school and hotel bearing the name. Andrew Charlton began remodelling Apley Castle in the late 1500s. The house was extended and part of the chapel was rebuilt and finally completed by his son Francis.
During the civil war Apley Castle became a Royalist Garrison, which eventually came under a Parliamentarian attack and the castle was severely damaged.
In 1791 plans for the construction of a fine Georgian house were agreed. The plan was for the bricks to be made on the estate and any other materials required were to be taken from the old castle, which was to be turned into stables. A French Gothic front was added to the eastern elevation in 1856 and fine portico pillars enhanced the extensively landscaped grounds.
During the war a large percentage of the gardens were ploughed and cultivated for growing vegetables and the estate was basically self sufficient. The produce was also sold to a shop in Market Street, which paid for the gardeners wages. The huge lawns in the Apley estate were mowed with a large horse-drawn mower and there was a focal point to the gardens which comprised of a large bed of flowers landscaped in the shape of the Prince of Wales crest. Many unusual species of trees, covered the estate including lime trees that were a favourite of the jackdaws and provided eggs for Meyrick.
Apley Castle stretched from where the Maxell factory is located, over to the lodge, which is now the Blessed Robert Johnson College, Apley Woods, the land covered by the Princess Royal Hospital and beyond.
As the years passed, the estate passed to Thomas, who had taken his mothers maiden name Meyrick. When it became apparent that they could no longer afford to maintain the estate it was decided that the castle would have to be sold. Sadly, when a buyer could not be found the decision was made to demolish the mansion. The pillared portico is all that remains of the second Apley Castle and these were transferred to Hodnet Hall. Today, tall trees stand on the site of the grand mansion that once dominated the landscape.
out more about Apley's surprising history in Dave Gregory's book
'Apley Castle, a Family of Influence'